Southern York County School Employees to Take Wage Freeze

For the Daily Record/Sunday News

Updated: 03/23/2011 11:13:30 PM EDT

York, PA – The freeze is on in the Southern York County School District.

Administrators, teachers and support staff announced to the school board Wednesday they are offering to freeze their pay for the 2011-12 school year.

The nearly unanimous decision will save the district $1,366,800 next year and will go a long way in keeping class sizes from rising and the elimination of essential programs, officials said.

“I am proud of our staff for offering this pay freeze. It represents what we call the Southern Way, which is an all-inclusive district-wide culture that at all times places our children first,” Supt. Thomas Hensley said.

The wage freeze comes in response to a $1.26 million reduction in state funding that will reduce the basic education subsidy to below the 2006-07 level and eliminates charter school funding and block grant funding.

Teacher Tim Scripko, president of the education association, said the decision was a collaborative effort on the part of the administration, teachers and support staff.

“I am very proud to stand before you to say we have done the right thing,” Scripko said.

Wayne McCullough, director of administrative services, said the administration reached the decision to accept a wage freeze the day after the school board took its first look at the cuts in Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget.

The announcement of the wage freeze came during a special budget meeting as board members gathered to discuss ways to deal with the loss in state funding with cuts the board never expected.

“We expected and even planned for some reductions, but the cuts were still severe. The worse news was that many existing programs were eliminated,” McCullough said.

In addition to the wage freeze, the district will save another $399,553 due to a list of cuts, McCullough said.

The cuts include seven teaching positions that will not be filled due to retirement and restructuring; four office and custodial positions not filled due to retirement or attrition; and reductions in building budgets, supplies and services. The summer technology staff has been eliminated, 14 assistant coaching positions will not be filled and the cost for in-car driver’s education will increase from $135 to about $200, McCullough said.

Budget at a glance

The Southern York County School District is looking at a budget of $45,571,682 and expects to maintain a property-tax increase of 1.32 percent. For the fourth consecutive year, the tax hike is projected to be less than the index set by the state of 1.7 percent.

The school board is expected to approve the tentative budget when it meets 7 p.m. April 14, a week earlier than usual. The final budget is scheduled to be adopted when the board meets 7 p.m. May 19.

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